It looks like everybody loves ‘Bistrello’ and we are no exception to the rule. We felt this would be one of ‘our places’ ever since our first visit.
But let’s start with the location. The small restaurant is situated in a quiet street, yet in the very center of Sofia. Easy to find, you can go there on foot, if you are anywhere in the central area of Sofia. As the place is not big, a reservation is a must. In summer months you can choose a table outside. Although there’s no courtyard to the restaurant, there are several sidewalk tables, which give that impression – quiet and set in greenery. At the same time the guests can feel the vibrant urban atmosphere, while enjoying the food. ‘Bistrello’ is popular among the foreign visitors of the city and locals alike.
The place serves up fusion dishes, inspired by the European and Asian cuisines, blending Bulgarian, French and Japanese traditions. There are just 24 dishes on the menu, which are to be made of fresh, seasonal products, mainly of Bulgarian origin. Bulgaria is known for its quality dairy products and the restaurant uses the best of them – yellow cheese and cottage cheese of milk by the native sheep breed of Teteven, as well as the organic, mature cheese, world-famous among the connoisseurs as the Green Cheese of the Cherni Vit region, following a 13th-century recipe of preparation.
A Head Chef of the place is Vladimir Todorov. The young chef has a significant records of career achievements. In 2016 he won the ‘Chef of Bulgaria’ prize, given by the Bulgarian Association Of Professional Chefs, competing with 130 top culinary experts of the country. A year earlier, in 2015, he was awarded a gold medal in the ACF Culinary Competition Baltimore Chapter (held by the prestigious American Culinary Federation) and was named the ‘Best Culinary Student’ of the USA. Chef Todorov has worked in restaurants in the USA, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In Bulgaria he has run the renowned ‘Corso’ restaurant.
When taking over the ‘Bistrello’ in May 2018, Chef Todorov continued his predecessor Chef Miroslav Dimitrov’s concept – serving up innovative, fusion kitchen in a simple and cozy atmosphere. The guests of the restaurant can follow the whole process of cooking in the open kitchen.
Unpretentious, yet elegant décor, friendly and polite staff, amazing taste of food and a fine selection of Bulgarian, French and Italian wines – all of this makes ‘Bistrello’ a place, you want to visit again. Especially to try the new dishes in the seasonally updated menu. The meals are really delicious, beautiful and creatively presented.
While there we started with a ‘Caesar-like salad’ with a smoked brown trout and ‘Frisée and Smilyan beans hummus’ – a real gourmet food delight! We continued with chicken and tri-tip beef, but vegetarians are well-catered for as well and may choose from a celery root steak, risotto with wild mushrooms, and a number seafood meals.
From desserts – the ‘Shopska’ salad is the absolute favorite. The fancy name comes as a witty play of words, referring to the most popular Bulgarian salad, made of tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese.
However, we fell in another star among desserts – the ‘Miso caramel-like’ dolce d’autore. Caution: the exquisite dessert is addictively sweet.